WIOMSA 12th Scientific Symposium: Progressing Dugong & Seagrass Conservation in the Western Indian Ocean

The location on the map is approximate!

A Special Session focused on progressing dugong and seagrass conservation in the Western Indian Ocean, held at the WIOMSA 12th Scientific Symposium. 

Under the UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU, range states in the Southwest Indian Ocean subregion have initiated a number of activities aimed at improving conservation outcomes for dugongs. The UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU Secretariat seeks to prioritize dugong conservation efforts in the region by strengthening regional collaboration and supporting strategic programmes of work.

This special session aims to bring together experts and government representatives from the region and beyond to develop a common workplan on regional dugong & seagrass habitat research and conservation, as an important step to ensuring the survival of this critically endangered but iconic and charismatic marine mammal.


This Special Session will provide an opportunity for the dugong range states of the region to exchange information and ideas on dugong research, surveys, conservation projects, learning and collaborative efforts. The meeting is an opportunity for different stakeholders to learn who is doing what in the region, to identify how to improve regional coordination and to optimize shared research and conservation synergies related to marine megafauna and seagrass habitats, with potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, livelihood and climate change issues.

Specific objectives for the session include:

  1. Sharing information about current dugong or relevant seagrass conservation, management and research activities in the Western Indian Ocean region
  2. Comparing methodologies used for dugong surveys in the region, and presenting latest results from the region
  3. Prioritizing potential collaborative efforts for dugong research. For example, regional genetic analysis of dugong populations, eDNA presence/absence, aerial surveys around Western Indian Ocean islands (particularly Madagascar and Seychelles), satellite tagging of dugong individuals
  4. Presenting the latest IUCN listing assessment for dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean
  5. Sharing the experiences, challenges and aspirations of those undertaking activities within the framework of the UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU
  6. Discussing developing alternative livelihoods and incentivizing more sustainable/less destructive fishing gear with the aim of improving dugong survivability and seagrass habitat protection and the economic and social wellbeing of coastal communities
  7. Introducing the current dugong conservation project in Bazaruto, Mozambique with the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), African Parks, Foundation Segre, and UNEP/CMS Dugong MOU
  8. Introducing the IKI Seagrass Ecosystem Services project in Southeast Asia (2020-2023) and discussion on the potential to build a similar regional project in the Western Indian Ocean
  9. Identifying suitable, culturally appropriate and easily interpretable materials for new community engagement materials.
14 Oct 2022 09:30 to 14 Oct 2022 17:30
OrganizerDugong MOU Secretariat
CoorganizerAfrican Parks and Marine Megafauna Foundation
CMS InstrumentDugong
TypeTechnical Meeting
CountrySouth Africa
CityPort Elizabeth
VenueBoardwalk Convention Centre